In these times of recession, the key word on everyone's lips is money: how to get even more of it. There are tons of ways to save money if we really are keen to spend less, little things people often take for granted or not even think about. Yet over a few months, the cents soon add up to dollars! The 5 most popular areas for painless saving are listed below.
a. Get your books from the Internet or the library. It is very tempting to buy a brand new book, but if your local library has it, why buy it when we only tend to read books once anyway? Furthermore, there are many free books on the internet to be downloaded, especially those that have lost their copyright. Buying a book should be one option these days, not the first choice.
b. Get the DVDs from the library. There might not be the exact choice you desire, but getting some movies from the library will save you having to rent them elsewhere! Why rent when you can borrow them freely?
c. Read magazines at the library or online. If you are an avid reader, the cost of your magazines and newspapers could mount up quite rapidly. All the newspapers are now online so there is no need to buy any. Magazines are still mainly in print, so a library, especially if there is one near you, would be very handy fo finding magazines you like - and free of charge.
2. Rewards, Bargains and Refunds
a. Sign up for reward cards. There are many cards that pay in cash or points that can be redeemed for travel or products and many don't carry an annual fee. For example, many customers are now finding the accumulated air miles very useful, especially if they rapidly acquire them through frequent shopping.
b. Always follow up on refunds. After you buy a product which has a refund, send in the form that day. Don't leave it lying around, otherwise you are likely to forget it. Then make a note in a diary to follow up on the rebate if the money hasn't arrived within a reasonable time. I think shops bank on many people not bothering to follow up which means they gain both ways!
c. Pay all your insurances annually. Insurance companies charge more if you pay monthly or quarterly. Try to pay once a year and you'll end up parting with far less money.
d. Check online first before you buy. Places like Amazon and Ebay can often save you money, or individuals wishing to sell used items or presents. The Internet market is absolutely amazing, creative and endless.
e. Buy generic items instead of brand names. When it comes to food and medicines, generic products are exactly the same as the branded products, yet are likely to be much cheaper. One can save a small fortune over time avoiding those branded items.
3. Financial Fees
a. Avoid interest on credit cards. Try to pay for credit card items as soon as you can rather than waiting too long to settle with the card company. Otherwise it simply attracts more interest when you could actually get their service almost free if you settle promptly and within a certain time. Credit card companies like late payers because that's how they make their money.
b. Avoid bank account fees. With so many free bank account services available, there's no reason to pay any fees. Try to negotiate with them about reversing any charges, otherwise, simply threaten to take your business elsewhere.
c. Try to avoid missed payments. Every missed payment on your bills is likely to incur a penalty, so try to pay every bill if you can. If you are sensing some difficulty, get in touch with creditors in good time to stave off any extra charges. But this is a very simple way to keep more of your money.
4. The Home
a. Check the heating insulation in your home. Warm air quickly seeps out of uninsulated homes. If you get proper insulation it soon pays for itself in lower utility bills in the first three years, not to mention how much warmer your home would be.
b. Replace high energy bulbs with low energy ones. These bulbs use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer. They come on slowly but soon get very bright. However, being longer lasting, they certainly save a lot on energy. Most important, you would also be doing your bit for the environment!
c. Do you really need your home telephone? A great way to save money is to get rid of it. The landline might be useful for emergency services but most people are using their cell phone for everything these days. You could be paying an added charge for something you could do without if you are willing to give it a try.
d. Get rid of some cable services. In the UK we made do with just 4 national channels for years. We didn't miss the opportunity to zap through hundreds of channels without really watching anything properly. We can only watch so many things at any time so lose the ones you hardly watch. You really won't miss them.
e. Combine your cable, internet and telephone services. In our rapidly growing technological convenience age, many companies are now simplifying the gadgets we have by offering combined services to run them that not only cost less, but offer the convenience of a single bill. One does not need the headache of different bills at higher charges to worry about.
a. Don't go overboard with the gifts! Why not just concentrate on the children or donate to charity instead at times like Christmas? You would probably get a better feel-good feeling from it. Agree in advance to limit your gifts and save everybody some money and even some embarrassment of unwanted gifts!
b. Want a new computer? Buy a refurbished one: Anything can be bought second hand. Local papers will always list bargains or special refurbished stores will carry the items you need. Ebay is an excellent online shop for them. Make your first stop a refurbished store. The difference in price rather than for a brand new item is often massive.
c. Take your own lunch at least one extra day per week. The savings over many weeks and months would be quite noticeable. There is no need to give up eating out, but just eating your own stuff for one more day each week could be significant to your savings.
d. Stop smoking and drink less alcohol. Not only is that far more healthy for you, and keeps your weight down, but the saving in money could transform your life over time. You could even use it to go on a vacation!
e. Above all, WALK instead of drive wherever you can. It is tempting to get into a car and go everywhere. But if where you're going not far off, why drive, especially in these days of rising petrol prices? Walking makes you healthy, loses you calories, tones up muscles and saves you tons of dosh. Don't take my word for it. Just try it for two weeks and see the difference in your whole outlook, weight, lifestyle and pocket!
I hope these simple items offer some ideas you might not have thought about and save you a fortune in the bargain!